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Hausu (1977)

An astonishing visual experience — Written by marinaraujo on 30.05.2013

(JAP - 1977)

Hausu is a Japanese B horror film, directed by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, starring Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Ohba, Ai Matsubara, Mieko Satô, Eriko Tanaka and Masayo Miyako, which won the 1977 Blue Ribbon Award of Best Director.

Before I start to talk about the plot itself, I must say it is pretty hard to label it under "good" or "bad" since, when we talk about B cinema, those concepts usually trade places. But Hausu is a very special case - even with the lousy computer effects, the tiny budget, the bad, shallow performances and a plot which isn't convincing, it has an amazing aesthetic concept and constitutes itself a colourful visual trip. And even apart from that it is -- what else can I say? So bad it is actually good.

The story develops over a cliché horror plot: there is this girl, called Oshare (also referred as Gorgeous), her father and stepmother. She was supposed to spend Summer holidays with her dad, while all of her friends would travel together, but then he invites his new significant other to join them and Oshare doesn't like it at all. She decides she'll spend some time at her mom's sister's house. For some reason, the other girls can't travel and end up joining Oshare in this (not) very pleasant journey. Of course everything starts to go wrong as soon as they get there.

Hausu's characters are all unilateral and superficial. Most of the time, their names are connected to a feature mark - for example, Mac, sorta chubby and always hungry, got that nickname as a short of "stomach". There's this girl called - literally - Kung Fu, and I think you can deduce what she does whenever there is trouble in sight. Merodî is strangely connected to music and a piano in the house - and I do believe it was Ôbayashi's intention to pick a name which is written and sounds like "melody". But surely one of the most important characters is Blanche, Oshare's aunt's cat which is the most iconic, recognizable and reproduced image from the film.

I've recently developed this thing with B cinema, which makes it hard to actually recommend it to someone who is not used or has no interest in understanding the genre. But I would seriously give Hausu a chance - there are many features which will intrigue and entertain you, and even make you laugh.

For all the visual experience, the special touch only Japanese authors can give (in songs, clothes and even some martial art coreographies) and some actual claustrophobic and frightening sequencies, Hausu is a pearl from this huge locker called B cinema. Understanding it's limitations and true purpose is the key to enjoy it - if you reach this level, it won't disappoint you at all.

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